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Tuna with Herbed White Beans

Tuna and white beans are a classic combination, but this flavorful version takes the dish to a whole new level. The tender braised fish and creamy beans mix with the sparkling flavors of vinaigrette, fresh herbs and lemon zest. This dish would make perfect picnic fare: pack the white bean salad and tuna in separate containers, and then combine them at the picnic site.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or rosé
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 lb. ahi tuna
  • 1 can (15 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

In a slow cooker, stir together the stock, wine, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the tomatoes, yellow onion, thyme, garlic, 1/2 tsp. of the salt and several grinds of pepper. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 30 minutes. Add the tuna, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. The tuna should be firm. After about 15 minutes, it will still be slightly pink at the center; after 20 minutes, it will be opaque throughout.

In a bowl, combine the white beans, the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil, the vinegar, red onion, half of the parsley, half of the lemon zest, the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Stir well, then taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Using a slotted spatula, transfer the tuna and vegetables to a plate. Discard the braising liquid. Using 2 forks, pull the tuna apart into flakes.

To serve, divide the white bean mixture among individual plates. Top the beans with the tuna and vegetables, garnish with the remaining parsley and lemon zest and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).